Polenta Mish Mash

Jeanette Kakareka

I haven't always enjoyed cooking, but after I moved to San Francisco years ago (my foodie heaven,) I learned to appreciate all kinds of food as well as cooking them. This has served me well, because I used to be a very picky eater!

Most of the time, even if I have a recipe, I don't listen to it very carefully. I modify recipes to fit the ingredients I have and my own tastes. I'm also pescatarian just because I like it, (which means I eat seafood but not meat--not a religion,) so I adjust for that. That said, I encourage you to change my recipe to suit your own needs, and I recommend you to be creative!

// INGREDIENTS (enough for four generous servings)
Boxed polenta
Canned chopped tomatoes
1/2 canned white beans
1/2 canned chickpeas
1/2 one head of cauliflower, cut into bite sizes
Two red sweet peppers, cut into bite sizes
Two chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces
1/2 onion, chopped roughly
3 cloves garlic, chopped thinly
1/4 vegetable stock cube
Olive oil
Ground black pepper
Sage leaves





Step one // Heat up the oven to 200 C. Prepare a deep baking dish by greasing it up with olive oil or a spray so that nothing sticks. 

Step two // Chop up the pepper, onion, and chicken into pieces about this size. (We used chicken because my boyfriend likes meat. But, this recipe has protein in other places, so you can skip it if you don't eat it, like me. Also, we use a lot of onion because we love onion. Feel free to use less.)

Step three // Give a light coating to it all with the coriander, cumin, black pepper, and salt. (Sorry, I never measure spices, but as you can see here, pre-mixed, everything has some spices but they're not drowning in it. Make it to your preference.) Then mix it all together with your hands to evenly coat it all. Add sage leaves on top. (We used sage because that's what we already happened to have.)

Step four // Put baking dish into the oven. This will take about 15-20 minutes, but keep checking to make sure nothing gets burnt. If anything is done before the rest, take it out and save it in a bowl.

Step five // Begin making polenta according to instructions. I also added 1/4 vegetable stock cube to the water to give it some extra taste. We used half of this box which was 375g. 

Step six // Meanwhile, start boiling water for the cauliflower. Chop up the cauliflower into bite sized and add to boiling water. Wait until they are soft after a few minutes, then drain. 

Step seven // When polenta and cauliflower are ready, and the veggies and chicken in the baking dish look cooked thoroughly, scoop it all out of the dish and into a bowl to save. Pour polenta into baking dish and spread it all out with a spoon or spatula. 

Step eight // Pour canned chopped tomatoes evenly over top of polenta.

Step nine // Drain and rinse beans and chickpeas. Layer over top of the canned tomatoes. Add another few shakes of ground pepper and salt to your liking. 

Step ten // Chop up garlic finely. Now you can go ahead and layer all that you've already cooked, as well as the garlic. Put it back in the oven for another five minutes. (We also wanted soup and garlic bread to go along with it, so we started heating that up as well.)

Step eleven // When it's all looking and smelling delicious, carefully take it back out of the oven, serve, and enjoy! :-)